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Labs unprepared for BIS Implementation, Solar Industry in Limbo

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In September 2017, MNRE had notified that three components used in solar plants were to be covered under BIS guidelines. The products to be covered under BIS are crystalline PV modules, thin film PV modules, power inverters and storage batteries. MNRE had given the industry and labs one year to prepare and be certified with time interim until April 2018 for self certification by manufacturers. Seeing that the government approved labs were not yet fit to certify solar there were repeated extensions and finally in a notification dated 12th September 2018, a final deadline for enforcement of BIS guidelines was announced at 20th September 2018.

This means that any solar panel, solar inverter or battery, that is not BIS certified, post 20th September, cannot be installed and hence cannot be imported into India.

While this is a great initiative in terms of quality, the unfortunate news is that the labs that have been approved in India, are not yet equipped to carry out testing and certification of solar inverters.

As can be seen from the list published by MNRE itself (below), not even a single lab has the ability to test inverters above 10 kW.

Labs

Further with such few labs for certification and only a short duration, the result is that some of the best brands today, including Delta and SMA, do not have BIS certification as on date and customers are left playing a wait and watch game.

In summary, while we appreciate MNRE’s efforts in mandating BIS certification for manufacturers and products, we urge the ministry to redouble its investment and speedily build testing and certification capacity. Customers, industry, investors and off-takers should not be penalized with crippling policies.

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